C&C Labs News Wire

— Sunday, June 27, 2010 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 2:39:42 AM ET

Greg Black Interviewed at CNCSaga.de

CNCSaga.de has interviewed Greg Black, the Lead Balance Designer for C&C 3 and Red Alert 3 about his depature from EA, C&C, and the process of making games there. It's a great read, and here's a bit of it: 

CNCSaga.de: In the past, when you have worked for EALA you have developed some Command & Conquer titles like Tiberium Wars or Red Alert 3. How do you appraise these titles on your own view? What do you think about them? What was good?
Greg Black: This is a somewhat tricky thing for me to answer. In truth I was probably the harshest critic of our games on the EALA RTS team. I got started with C&C back in '95 and was instantly hooked. I loved the story, loved the gameplay, loved the setting, and loved Kane (in a totally platonic way). For me C&C was something of a sacred game and I desperately wanted to do the series justice with all the C&C games I worked on. Unfortunately although we had a very talented team of passionate gamers, EA simply would not give us the time we felt we needed to make a truly great C&C game. In the case of C&C:3 our development cycle was something like 11 months. Compare that to Blizzard or Relic who was spending 3-6 years on their RTS titles. Our longest development cycle was 18 months on RA3, but at that time the team was split in half and added another platform (PS3), so the extra dev time was kind of a wash. EA simply needed us to keep cranking out games to keep the LA studio afloat while many its other teams floundered. So to answer your question I was not happy with how C&C3 or RA3 turned out, our games were always rushed, our engine technology aged and degraded over the years, our path finding was horrible, our online implementations were embarrassing, and ultimately our games did not, in my view, live up to the orginal C&C, or RA2, or Generals (which I also worked on but in a very lowly capacity).

I do however have to give credit to the development team. Given the circumstances under which we were making these games, (crappy tech, super compressed schedules) I think what we were able to ship was quite impressive. Unfortunately the gamer who just spent $50 on our games doesn't have any clue how much time we had to spend on them or what the internal politics of EA were at the time, they can only see what is in the box.

CNCSaga.de: What do you think about Command&Conquer 4? Many people are saying C&C 4 wouldn't be a C&C. EA wouldn't have made big efforts. But you are a C&C-expert. What do you think about this?
Greg Black: It's unfair of me to pass judgement on C&C4 as I did not work on it nor have I played the final game. I was however at the studio during much of C&C4's development and have played pre-release builds. The important thing to know is that C&C4 was never meant to be a true Tiberium universe canonical game, but rather an experiment in online play. It originally started as out an Asian market online-only version of C&C 3. At some point the company executives decided it made the most business sense to add a single player campaign, call it C&C4, and put it in a box. The team of course protested this change in direction but the decision stood. The team did what they could to make a good game given the realities inside EA, but ultimately it was the product of a dysfunctional corporate culture.

Full thing here.